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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Senate Apology: A First Step Down a Slippery Slope

In the midst of the Michael Jackson Circus, it was easy to miss Senate Resolution 39. The US Senate issued an apology for the lynchings of earlier decades. It's key sponsors were Senators Allen (R-VA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Not a bad thing, in and of itself. The House passed a number of resolutions condemning lynchings at the time, while the Senate of that time passed none.

Here's the problem. For the slave reparations sharks, the apology was just blood in the water. Don't believe me? Check out the links in the Google News Search.

Here's a typical reaction:
We have much to regret in our history, and slavery and the treatment of blacks is at the top of the list. But cheap apologies only dilute authentic shame and genuine remorse. What makes these particular apologies cheap is that none of the apologizers really suggests doing anything more than trying to rewrite history and bask in applause.

Wachovia offers no reparations, at least not yet, nor interest-free loans, free checking or even an old toaster to the descendants of slaves. Neither Mzz Landrieu nor Mr. Allen has offered to give up their seats in shame for having served in what must have been an infamous, insensitive and derelict United States Senate. Neither senator, so far, has introduced a bill to compensate descendants of the lynched. Mzz Landrieu, in fact, has never even apologized for arriving at the Senate via a tainted election. We can be sure the Senate apology will be prominently featured in Mr. Allen's campaign literature when, as expected, he runs for president three years hence.

The people they apologize to are used as cardboard extras and Styrofoam stand-ins in a morality play. That's a shame, too.
Like ambulance chasers, the reparation sharks will only except cold hard cash for the sin of slavery. The thousands of dead of the Civil War won't pay for the new Jaguar, after all. And an apology from a Senate light years removed from those dark days won't by buy the estate on the West Coast either.

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